Two things that humans love are superlatives and potatoes. Fortunately, we have come up with a way to combine these two topics into one. Today, we’re going to look at the world’s largest potato ever grown. These wonderful tubers are versatile enough to be cooked at any mealtime, make great additions to dog food, and have many other uses.
Let’s take a look at the biggest spud ever grown, what steps were taken to make it so large, and where it was planted.
How Did We Get Potatoes?
Potatoes are a tuber of the plant Solanum tuberosum. Humans do not consume the fruits that these plants produce because they are toxic to human beings. Instead, we eat the tuber. Plants’ tubers store nutrients for helping plant growth during a growing season. The part of the plant that humans eat grows beneath the ground.
Although we might think that the potato was always a widespread plant, that’s not the case. This plant is native to the Americas, and it was not until the middle of the 16th century that the potato started to appear elsewhere. The potato apparently originated in Peru and Bolivia, but the most common variety in the world stems from a type that was grown in Chile.
How do we know this? Well, scientists decided to use DNA analysis to trace the origins of the humble tuber. Unfortunately, only a few cultivars (types) of potatoes made their way across the ocean. As a result, potatoes were more vulnerable to plant diseases, called blights, than they would have been had multiple types made the journey. The fact that these potatoes both brought and were vulnerable to a specific blight were contributing factors to the Irish potato famine but not the only problem.
Now that we know a little bit of background on potatoes let’s take a look at how large these plants are supposed to be.
How Large Is an Average Potato?
Before we get into the conversation about the largest potato ever grown, we have to establish a baseline. How large is an average potato? Well, that’s a rather difficult question to answer since potatoes do not grow uniformly at all. Moreover, many of the groups that oversee the laws of growing and selling potatoes have unique scales.
For example, the USDA considers the diameter of the potatoes and the maximum weight when classifying them. They say that small potatoes are up to 2 ¼ inches in diameter and weigh about 4 ounces. The large potatoes weigh up to 16 ounces and have a diameter between 3 and 4 inches.
The medium potatoes, perhaps the most common size, could have a diameter up to 3 inches and weigh about 10 ounces. Keep in mind that some types of potatoes grow much larger than others. Yet, for our purposes, we’re going to say that an average potato has a diameter of about 3 inches and weighs between 10 and 16 ounces overall. That’s about 1 lb at the upper end.
That provides a little leeway for the high-end of the measurements. Now that we know how big the average potato grows, we can start to consider some of the largest potatoes ever.
How Do We Measure the Largest Potato?
As you can see from our USDA evaluations, two measures of potatoes emerge. First, we have the diameter. Secondly, we have the weight. For our purposes, we’re going to look at the weight of these tubers. That is the easiest way to determine the vastness of a potato. Otherwise, we would be trapped in a fruitless attempt to measure the diameter of tubers known for not growing uniformly.
What Is the Largest Potato Ever Grown?
The largest potato ever grown measured was 10 lb 14 oz or 4.98 kilograms. The potato was grown in the UK by a man named Peter Glazebrook. It first garnered attention after it was weighed at the National Gardening Show in the UK in 2011.
The potato is not a uniform, round potato as most people would buy in the supermarket. Instead, this potato almost looks like several potatoes combined. There is a central portion of the potato that is the largest. However, it has offshoots from the top and sides.
The piece of potato growing on the top is the smallest, but the outgrows on the left and right are far larger and greatly contribute to the mass and overall size of the structure.
It is not certain whether the owner of the potato was trying to make a world-record potato when he grew it. Still, it is clear that he must have taken great pains to dig up the potato without damaging the structure. It’s also not clear what became of the potato.
We don’t know whether it made for the biggest batch of mashed potatoes ever derived from a single potato or if it was boiled, mashed, or put in a stew.
A Challenger for Largest Potato Ever Grown
A challenger for the record of the world’s largest potato ever grown appeared in 2021. A couple named Colin and Donna Craig-Brown from New Zealand were preparing their garden for spring when they discovered a massive tuber.
Their tuber reportedly weighed 17.4 pounds, almost twice the weight of the record-holding potato. However, the world record keepers were not about to let this large tuber waltz into the record books without checking a thing or two. They requested a DNA test.
In early 2022, it was revealed that this was not a record-breaking potato. Although it was a tuber, it was not a tuber of a species of potato. Instead, it was the tuber of a type of gourd. According to an interview with the owners of the tuber, they kept the tuber, named it “Dug” (Doug), and keep it in the freezer. They’re still disappointed that they did not have the world record for the largest potato. Yet, they may have the biggest tuber that’s not a potato.
All in all, the quest to find the world’s largest potato is riddled with interesting tales. The odd thing is that people aren’t growing these large potatoes on purpose like they do with pumpkins. These tubers are just naturally sprouting out of the grown with these immense sizes.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.